Earth’s gold may be much, much rarer than we think

Update — Guys I’m having all kinds of fits with WP and the edit screen all of the sudden. I don’t even know if you can see this update, I can’t — DS

Carl Sagan was fond of saying gold is only made in supernova exploisons. An elegant and relevant way to bring the beauty of cosmology fown to earth. But some Harvard scientists are right, earth’s gold came from a cataclysm rarer than supernova, and every bit as violent if not more so:

Link — Unlike elements like carbon or iron, it cannot be created within a star. Instead, it must be born in a more cataclysmic event – like one that occurred last month known as a short gamma-ray burst (GRB). Observations of this GRB provide evidence that it resulted from the collision of two neutron stars – the dead cores of stars that previously exploded as supernovae. Moreover, a unique glow that persisted for days at the GRB location potentially signifies the creation of substantial amounts of heavy elements – including gold.

“We estimate that the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of the two neutron stars may be as large as 10 moon masses – quite a lot of bling!” says lead author Edo Berger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Berger presented the finding today in a press conference at the CfA in Cambridge, Mass.

A gamma-ray burst is a flash of high-energy light (gamma rays) from an extremely energetic explosion. Most are found in the distant universe. Berger and his colleagues studied GRB 130603B which, at a distance of 3.9 billion light-years from Earth, is one of the nearest bursts seen to date.


  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Update — Guys I’m having all kinds of fits with WP and the edit screen all of the sudden. I don’t even know if you can see this update, I can’t — DS

    Works for me.

  2. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Au! So Gamma rays are golden.

    If not not green. (How many stellar systems irradiated inthe balst that goes / causes bling?

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Were do these superflous words in my comments come from? (Could swear I didn’t type ’em.)

    Anyone want to add a ‘not’ somewhere and lack one? Feel free to take – I’ve got one spare for ya.

    Sigh, edit button if only ..

  4. says

    The funny thing about tech probelms is we all have em. Every single person on the Internet struggles with the same shitty Internet-network bugs that no one can seem to fix or cares to try to fix. Like right now I not only have the edit screen bugs — in this bug all content in the edit screen window blanks out and you can’t see it, WP has had ppl bitching about it since day one and yet somehow, aftera ddecade, it still happens all the time — I also have the mouse bug in WP, this is where the mouse cursor lags behind the keys, bounces around randomly causing typos galore, or won’t go or appear where you put it. If I report any of this to anyone at WP it will be a complete waste of time, their first words will be “It’s working fine for me!” Translation, I can’t see this bug so I don’t have to help you fix it.

    Imagine for a moment you car dealer tried to get away with the shit software companies and device makers pull every day. “What, your axle snapped? Are you SURE it’s your axle? Sorry man! Of course, we didn’t make that axle, we just installed it on your car at the factory, I’m not even sure who we might have used that day because that factory is actually not even us, it’s a third party outsourced contractor in Thailand we use. You’ll have to find out who the axle manufacturer is there and contact them, might help to study up on speaking Thai. Good luck!”

    What’s the weird though, there is apowerful element in human nature that is compelled to deny these problems even exist. As though by admitting to seeing them they will be labeled a non tech savvy person or something. And of course busiensses and tech supoprt pellpe have every reason in the world to pretend they don’t exist or that it’s somehow someone else’s fault, because that means less work for tech support and businesses. But they do exist, of course they do, I’m in tech support and I hear about them all fucking day long endlessly 24/7 365 days a year. They never seem to get better, and we all wander around the Internet trying to pretend the emporer is fully dressed in magnificent robes.

  5. robb says

    no no no. you are looking at it all wrong. those aren’t “bugs.” those are “features.”

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Obviously what these hahvahd scientists need to do is patent the process of generating gold from neutron star catastrophes. Then they can sue the aliens for infringing their patent, and lay claim to that “10 moon masses” of gold. Hey, it’s less than 4 billion light-years away.

  7. says

    Update — Guys I’m having all kinds of fits with WP and the edit screen all of the sudden. I don’t even know if you can see this update, I can’t — DS

    I had problems a couple of days ago. I use “firefox” with “noscript”. It turns out that I now have to allow scripting from “” for it to work properly.

    That might not be your problem, but I thought it worth mentioning just in case.

  8. F [is for fluvial] says

    Ahhh, science.

    As to WP, I can tel you one thing: Some browsers and versions thereof which I have used displayed a distinct dislike for whatever scripts are at It would just completely bog them down, making scrolling impossible. And it doesn’t seem to hurt to block this on the consumer end. Not sure about the publishing end.

  9. rapiddominance says

    Now the value of gold is going to skyrocket! Better invest while you can.

  10. CaitieCat says

    That random-bouncing cursor, I know this may be a long shot, but when I was having that problem, I eventually tracked it down to my own typing habits.

    Turned out that in resting the outside part of the heel of each palm on the place below the keyboard on my laptop, my thumbs would occasionally brush against the touchpad, lightly enough that I wouldn’t feel it, but the touchpad certainly did, and would move the cursor into the text at whatever place the cursor happened to be sitting, usually a few lines above where I was currently typing.

    Drove me nuts for a few months before I figured it out. I actually filmed myself typing, and was able to see that every time I started squawking about the cursor moving, I could roll back the play and see where a stray thumb had tapped the touchpad.

    May well not be what you’re experiencing, I just remember how frustrated I was when it happened, and how relieved I was when I figured it out, so I figured I’d put it out there. I hope you find out what it is soon. :)

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